Beta: A huge thank you to cariel for beta reading this for me! *glomps*
Disclaimer: Not mine. None of it.
The first time Commander Gree met Barriss Offee she was singing over him. He did not know the words she sung for the language was still foreign to his ears. Nor did he recognise the tune her gentle voice carried.
A part of him knew that she could not carry a tune, but to Gree it was the most beautiful sound he had ever heard in his short life.
He was a new commissioned officer, a member of the elite forces wounded during his first battle in what would one day be called the Clone Wars. The battle of Geonosis made short work of his once naïve ideals of adventure and heroics on the frontlines. The young woman was equally innocent, a padawan who was his senior by seven years though physically she appeared much younger.
Moments ago, his chest, right arm, and left thigh throbbed with excoriating pain, which were results of shrapnel and laser fire. As green fingers hovered over his broken form, the pain of his wounds faded as a peaceful warmth poured over him. His mind cleared as the pain faded, enabling him able to register his surroundings. All the while, the young woman continued to hum, her expression distant but entirely at ease. Gree wished he could have shared in her peace.
The memory of their latest assault was still fresh in his mind. Durasteel feet beating against hardened soil echoed in his thoughts as the shadows of the sterile room twisted and moved. It was if something was watching him from beyond the veil. It reminded him of his fallen brothers, of all the lives that had died that day while he lived. Everything about this war just felt wrong, if only he knew why.
"Commander, you are safe here. There is no need to dwell on the battle; it is behind you now."
The young woman's voice startled Gree out of his morbid thoughts, causing him to look at her in mild surprise. He had heard a lot about the Jedi's capabilities, the way they could touch minds, heal flesh, and manipulate their surroundings. It was the first time he had ever experienced the Jedi's mystical skills first hand.
There were no flashes of light, no great thrums of noise, only the peaceful calm that filled his mind and a warmth that wrapped around his wounds like an embrace. It was both ethereal and alien; had Gree not experienced it first hand, he would not have believed it.
Fingers so delicate, yet calloused from long hours of training, hovered over his body as dark eyes studied him. Beneath her watchful, compassionate gaze, Gree cheeks grew warm. No one had ever looked at him so intently in his short life. It was as unnerving as it was humbling.
Only when she had finished tending to his wounds did Gree find the courage to speak. "Commander--" he began, uncertain of her name or exact title.
"I am not an officer, Commander, merely a Padawan, but you may call me Barriss," the young woman said as she shook her head. "Though I must apologize, as I do not recall ever learning your name, Commander," she added with a shy smile.
Her smile was sincere and kind. Gree decided he liked it as much as her voice. Her cheeks once sea green changed to on an emerald shade, marking her self-consciousness; it was a comforting thought to know he was not the only one.
"I'm called Gree."
The shy confession left Gree feeling sheepish. He almost hoped that Barriss was not familiar with the rare, cephalopod species. He did not want to have to explain why he was given the name. Gree's love of sentientology had always met with a mix of amusement and disgust. He often wondered if he was really meant to be a battle commander as opposed to a science officer. His masters had yet to figure out how to put his obsession with non-human societies to good use.
The young woman's eyes lit up as she gave the young man a look of surprise.
"Gree? As in the forgotten ancients of old?"
In that moment, Gree knew he had found someone who understood him in a way no one else could. Only a brief smile was shared before their moment was interrupted by the arrival of Jedi General Unduli.
The young Padawan spoke of his wounds and revealed that he was now healed. Her master, the general, gave a simple nod before announcing that he was to return to active duty. Gree knew better than to question the general's orders and promptly collected his armour and weapons before departing to the battlefront once more.
He never forgot the trepidation he saw on Barriss face upon learning he was to return to battle. Nor could he forget the peaceful sound of her voice singing to him softly, the warmth he saw in her eyes and in her smile. It carried him through the darkest hours of the war, protecting him from the madness the slow death that had consumed so many of his fellow brothers.
Gree swore that one day he would tell Barriss how her kindness had changed his life, that he would always love her for it, but it was not meant to be.
They never spoke to each other ever again…until death.